Staying calm during your driving test

Learning clutch control and how to hill start is one thing, learning to control your nerves and stay calm is quite another.

When it comes to learning to drive there’s plenty to pack into that brain of yours, from the multiple manoeuvres you’re expected to know, to the ins and outs of the Highway Code, it’s a lot to take on.

However, there’s one thing more difficult to master than anything else – driving test nerves.

Rachel Rawlings, head of Learner Driver at Admiral Insurance, offered a few words of wisdom for those preparing to pass their test: “Driving tests are tough for everyone, believe me a quick straw poll of the Admiral office reveals even the most confident of us found learning to drive to be pretty stressful.

“Though we all agree practise is key, it’s often a lack of confidence which holds learner drivers back. Admiral Young Driver Academies really help to build confidence in young drivers and confidence is so important when you drive!”

So, with the help of Admiral Learner Driver Insurance, we’ve put together nine top tips to help you keep cool in the driver seat.

1. Practice as much as possible

As with anything in life it’s always better to be prepared. You should treat your driving test as you would do any school exam – can you imagine sitting down to do your maths GCSE without doing some revision first? Hopefully the answer is no.

Obviously driving lessons can be quite expensive so adding some private practice (driving with a friend or family member supervising) in between is a good idea. With Admiral Learner Driver Insurance you can get insured on a friend or family member’s car on a short-term basis instantly.

You could get a whole week’s worth of cover for £40 – just imagine how many hours of practise you could fit in then!

2. Don’t multi-task

Of course you’ll be keen to book your test as soon as your instructor says you’re ready but be mindful not to book it on a day when you already have plans.

Driving test + birthday = stressful birthday. Driving test + final exam = worry over what to focus on. Driving test + first date = miserable date. You get the picture, book it on a day where you have no other plans and can focus all your attention on the road.

3. Keep it quiet

Yes, your driving test is something to be excited about but the pressure of having all your friends and family members know the date can be really off putting.

There’s nothing more disheartening than knowing everyone is waiting for you to come back and tell them how you did, so just keep it a secret.

If you fail, no one knows and if you pass it’ll be a great surprise and a chance to celebrate!

 4. Sleep well

Obviously this is easier said than done as pre-test nerves can keep the brain busy but do make sure you get to bed at a reasonable time the night before.

You should also try to book the test at a time of day that suits you; some of us are full of energy first-thing while others need to get lunch out of the way before they’re ready to take on the day.

5. Indulge in a breakfast of champions

It can be tough to chow down with butterflies in your tummy but boosting your blood sugar levels and being hydrated is preferable to getting hangry at a red light!

You don’t have to indulge in a Michael Phelps-style breakfast - calorie and protein packed - but try to eat something which releases energy slowly like a banana or peanut butter on toast.

6. Avoid the caffeine

Of course you need to be alert and prepared for every eventuality, but try to do that with the help of a good night’s sleep and a decent breakfast rather than lots of b coffee.

Jitters at the wheel are a definite no-no.

7. Don’t be too uptight

Yes it’s stressful and the thought of laughing might be quite far from your mind but it really is a natural stress-reliever so be sure to have a good old giggle before getting to the test centre.

8. Be on time

As with job interviews, exams, first days at a new job, anything important really, it’s better to get there early.

Not too early, we aren’t suggesting you camp out the night before, but early enough that you have time to sign in and you don’t have to rush.

9. Don’t ignore the examiner

No, this isn’t the time to share your life story but you don’t have to sit there in absolute silence either.

It’s fine to make small talk if the timing is right, if you’re stuck at traffic lights for example, it may even make you feel a little more relaxed.

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